Israel Update

December 18, 2011 


“Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of Your face.” Psalm 89:15

WARMEST HOLIDAY GREETINGS: As we move rapidly towards a new year, Vision for Israel & The Joseph Storehouse staff members pray for warm family gatherings, meaningful worship and joyful celebrations for all of our friends around the globe. May there be renewed faith, hope and love, and a keener expectation of the returning King of kings in the coming months. For those who plan to celebrate Hanukkah, along with those of us in Israel, the first night of this holiday of hope, joy and miracles starts at sundown on Tuesday, December 20, 2011.

ISRAEL’S RED CARPET FOR CHRISTIAN PILGRIMS: Christian pilgrims are visiting the Holy Land in record numbers these days. Last year, 3.5 million tourists visited Israel. Two-thirds of them were Christians. The Israeli government, which controls the borders not only to the Jewish State but to the West Bank as well, sees real potential in faith tourism. And it’s reaching out to Christian pilgrims in a big way. (The World) Pray for continued warm relations between Christians and Jews on all levels.

APPLE TO SET UP ISRAEL DEVELOPMENT CENTER: Apple Inc. is opening a development center in Israel focusing on semiconductors. Although Apple is a global innovation leader, the company is a relatively small investor in R&D (Research and Development). The producer of the iPad and iPhone invested $2.4 billion in R&D in 2010, which was only 2% of its revenue, much less proportionately than other high-tech companies. Apple has only one technology development center, which is at company headquarters in Cupertino, California. The planned Israel branch will therefore be the company's first such center outside of its California headquarters. (Globes)

JERUSALEM GOVERNMENT COMPLEX TO TRIPLE IN SIZE: The Jerusalem Building Commission last week approved a plan to triple the size of the government complex. The new buildings will accommodate ministries that will move from Tel Aviv. The government complex currently houses the Knesset, Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Bank of Israel and Supreme Court. The new plan includes a 25,000-square meter building next to the Foreign Ministry, a 30,000-square meter office building, and a 70,000-square meter train depot and office building. A National Square will be built between the Bank of Israel and the Prime Minister's Office, which will become the new symbol of the government complex and will be linked to the city center by a new light rail line. (Globes)

ISRAELI FIRM INJECTS KOSHER INTO VITAMINS: A Galilee-based Israeli company is beginning to take a large share of the American vitamin market with strictly kosher products. Ambrosia-SupHerb, founded in 1986, is giving market leaders a run for their vitamins with products that are approved by the religious kosher certification body. “Some sources say the growth in the kosher vitamins has surpassed kosher foods with as much as a 25% growth in just the last three years,” the American-based Kosher Today newsletter reported. Ambrosia-SupHerb is Israel’s second largest vitamin company, operates its own farms for natural ingredients and specializes in the development, production and marketing of dietary supplements. It cultivates some of the Biblical aromatic plants, such as Ezov and Za’atar, both of which are widely used today in Israel as culinary herbs and as folk medicines. (Kosher Today)

US SUES BUSINESSES IT SAYS HELPED HIZBULLAH: Federal authorities blamed Lebanese financial institutions Thursday for wiring more than $300 million into the US in a money-laundering scheme they said used the US financial system to benefit Lebanon’s chief terrorist organization. The federal government is now escalating its campaign to stanch the flow of what it says is dirty money to the terrorist group Hizbullah. Prosecutors filed a civil suit aimed at financially punishing American and Lebanese businesses that the government charges were behind a Hizbullah-controlled global network that laundered huge sums in South American cocaine proceeds. (Fox)

IDF: IN THE ARAB WORLD SHAKE-UP, SYRIA IS NEXT: The IDF Military Intelligence appraisal for 2012, recently presented to political decision-makers, predicts the shake-up in the Arab world will continue and that Syria is next. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who reads all the intelligence assessments, has said repeatedly that Assad will fall "within weeks." A senior military officer last week stated there is no conceivable way Assad can extricate himself. The demonstrators in Syria have overcome their fear and are continuing to take to the streets despite the clear risk of being shot. (Ha'aretz) “When the wicked rule, the people groan.” Proverbs 29:2 

BASHAR ASSAD IN THE BALANCE: With the notable exception of Iran, Syria's closest allies - terrorist groups and states alike - are jumping ship. In recent months, the Hamas terrorist organization, which had been based in Damascus since 1999, has started divesting its assets and withdrawing its personnel from Syria. The Hizbullah terrorist group in Lebanon is also taking steps to mitigate the damage of regime change next door. Since this summer Hizbullah has been moving its heavy weapons positioned in Syria into Lebanon. Before the uprising, Turkish PM Erdogan and Assad were friends who once vacationed together with their respective spouses. In November, Turkey started to provide safe haven to military defectors known as the Free Syrian Army, a policy that exponentially increased desertions. It's difficult to imagine Turkey providing sanctuary to Assad opponents without being confident the regime would fall. (L.A. Times)

TURKEY, EGYPT IN JOINT NAVAL EXERCISES: Egyptian navy ships were on their way to the waters off Turkey Thursday afternoon, where they planned to rendezvous with Turkish navy vessels for a joint exercise. Egypt's top naval commander, Muhav Mamish, said the exercise is “not directed against any specific country, and is designed to strengthen ties and exchange information between Turkey and Egypt.” Israeli officials speculated the exercise was not necessarily aimed at Israel, but against Iran, which has both Turkey and Egypt worried. Turkey, long a rival with Iran for leadership of the Islamic world, is concerned over recent Iranian threats against it. In recent weeks, Iranian officials have threatened Turkey with retaliation if the US or Israel attempt to attack its nuclear facilities. Iran, the officials said, would attack the NATO missile shield. (INN)

EXPOSE: THE VATICAN WANTS TO LAY ITS HANDS ON JERUSALEM: “Peace negotiations in the Middle East must tackle the issue of the status of the holy sites of Jerusalem,” Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, declared several days ago. The Vatican’s former foreign minister asked to place some Israeli holy places under Vatican authority, alluding to the Cenacle on Mount Zion and the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. The first site also houses what is referred to as King David’s tomb. The Israeli government and the Vatican are deadlocked in discussions over the status of the religious sites. Vatican officials are now reiterating their demand for control over the religious sites in the ancient and holy city founded by King David as the capital of ancient Israel and now the capital of the reestablished Jewish state. (INN)

ISRAEL’S TREATMENT AT THE UN OBSESSIVE AND UGLY US DIPLOMAT SAYS: US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice denounced the treatment Israel receives in the United Nations on Thursday, adding that American support of Israel's security was an "essential truth."  Speaking at the annual reception of the Conference of Presidents Fund in New York, Rice said the treatment Israel receives at the UN was “obsessive, ugly, bad for the United Nations and bad for peace.” The ambassador stressed the Obama administration was committed to oppose all efforts to “chip away at Israel’s legitimacy,” adding that US commitment to Israel’s peace and security was an “essential truth that will never change.” The American official said US President Obama “has been clear all along that our special relationship with Israel is deeply rooted in our common interests and our common values,” adding that common interests and values were the reason the US has increased its financing of Israel’s military capabilities. (Ha’aretz)

OBAMA TO REFORM JEWS: DON’T LET ANYONE CHALLENGE MY ISRAEL BONA FIDES: President Obama told a gathering of Reform Jewry not to let anyone challenge his record of support for Israel, which he said was unprecedented. "No US administration has done more in support of Israel's security than ours - none," he said in an address Friday afternoon to more than 5,000 people at the biennial conference of the Union for Reform Judaism. Obama listed areas of close cooperation, including missile defense and Iran sanctions. Of the sanctions, he said they were the "hardest hitting" ever. Obama peppered his speech with Jewish references, starting with "Shabbat Shalom." (JTA) "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength.” Jeremiah 17:5

Blessings from Israel 

Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff 


As international speakers and messengers of the Good News through music, Barry and Batya Segal are at the forefront of what God is doing in the present day nation of Israel. With strong ties in both the nations and Jerusalem, the Segals are weaving the deepest roots of our biblical heritage together with the fresh Spirit-filled worship of today to create their rich harmony of Scripture and song.

The Segals have a vast vision for God's purposes in the nations and to the people of Israel. In fact, their longing to help rebuild Israel both spiritually and physically inspired them to pioneer the non-profit charity organization, Vision for Israel and The Joseph Storehouse. This arm of their ministry focuses on assisting the poor and needy, widows and orphans, and reaching out to the new Jewish immigrants coming into the land of Israel. Vision 's most challenging project to date is "The Joseph StorehouseŽ", humanitarian aid center, located in the hills of Jerusalem. The Joseph Storehouse functions as a channel of blessing to all of Israel, Jewish and Arab, through the gathering and distribution of emergency medical supplies, food, clothing, and other basic life necessities. USA office contact info: Vision for Israel, PO Box 7743, Charlotte NC 28241, 866-351-0075. The Segal's web site is


Scripture quotations are from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.    


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